Address Gaps in Your Job History Head On

Explaining Resume Details

Tip of the Day

Modest gaps in employment usually aren’t deal-breakers. The trick is to address them honestly. Your goal should be to minimize the effects of your time away from work, not to hide that time or misrepresent its duration. Trying to hide an employment gap is a surefire way to come across as having, well, something to hide.

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Your resume’s cover letter is the ideal place to broach the subject. Don’t write a heartrending account of the period in question. Instead, provide a brief, matter-of-fact explanation, something like: “My position was one of many eliminated at Company X in February 2014. I underwent successful surgery and recuperated for six months. I am now fully healthy and eager to return to work, and am currently taking a course in Technology Y to keep my skills up-to-date.”

A common error is to stretch the truth about employment dates. A prospective employer can easily uncover such a lie, eliminating your chances not only with that firm, but potentially damaging your reputation with past employers and colleagues. In addition, the need to “keep your story straight” during interviews practically guarantees a nervous performance. By contrast, a forthright explanation in your cover letter sets the stage for open discussion of the subject.

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